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The Omnibus of Gods
After the tunnels, Allan spent his time between the Ascendancy's study and training.  The book he couldn't leave with pulled at his attention.  The things the gods of old could do was astounding, and they didn't even have half the power of the Ascendancy himself.  These recordings were of the end of their civilization, they were a dying breed, thanks to the Atharim.

There were curiosities among it.  Traveling instantaneously from one place to another, using devices that teleported you to different timelines, a fucking multi-verse of realities.  It was like reading the most base sci-fi and fantasy book alive and yet these cultists believed it to be true.  And to be fair Allan believed them. They were barely scratching the surface with the nine.  The Ascendancy shared his knowledge to a degree, but they were all stumbling in this new found era of power.  Floundering and fumbling.  One day they'd reach those heights and be worshiped again.  But there were dangers out there -- the Atharim being one of them, creatures like the Ijiraq too.  They needed to be hunted to extremes and eradicated like they had eradicated these so called gods.  Turn about was fair play.

Something about these traveling gateways pulled at Allan.  He had no idea why, or how or even what it meant, but he was drawn to it.  How would one even begin to think about such things?  Teleportation via science was just theory in its most base form -- a baby thought even.  It still was impossible.  But this wasn't science.  But with the power and science, maybe they could create something?  Wasn't the consul working with programs and scientists and defining things with the utmost care.  Surely someone would have a thought.  A skill -- a talent for such numbers, equations.  Or maybe the ability itself reborn.

Allan set about the facility looking for intrigued fellows.  It was a big place. And lots of faces.  But the labs, they'd be his best bet.
Danika adjusted her lab coat as she stepped away from the complex tangle of wires and equipment that had consumed her attention for the past few hours. The soft hum of machinery slowly faded as she made her way to the exit, her steps echoing lightly against the tiled floor. The experiment had been a success, or so she hoped. The data she had gathered looked promising, and she couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement coursing through her veins.

As she pushed open the heavy door leading out of the secure room, a wave of cooler air greeted her. The corridor stretched ahead, a seemingly endless passage of white walls. Danika’s stomach grumbled in response, reminding her that it had been quite some time since breakfast.

She walked with a purposeful stride, her mind still buzzing with the details of the experiment. Was it the breakthrough she had been hoping for? Could this data finally explain the anomalies they had been observing in the entanglement experiments? These thoughts swirled in her mind as reached a common area.

The scent of brewing coffee filled the air, mingling with the faint aroma of microwave food and disposable containers. She checked the refrigerator and remembered that her meal was long-expired. She trashed it and decided she was going to have to venture into the real outdoors to find food. Despite all her protests, Kremlin security still didn’t allow food delivery down there, and the catering was reserved for important people.

That was when she saw Allan. She recognized him of course. All the Dominions were public faces now, and the cuter ones were heavily featured on social media.

“Hey,” she stopped. She’d been asking for one of them to come assist in her experiments for a couple of weeks. “Does this mean my request was granted?” Her smile suggested that she expected he automatically knew exactly what she was talking about.
A cute little scientist woman in a white lab coat greeted him like he knew her. Rather she knew him, and he had no idea who she was. But he was looking for one like her, so it was the perfect excuse to stop and chat. Though she asked the strangest question straight out of the gate. Allan's eyes went wide and he took a step back. "If you put in a request for one of the nine, I'm sad to say I have no idea what you are talking about. Vellas has given me no such order." But he grinned at her. "But my time is my own, I could make some of it to help with whatever it is you need, if you induldge me with talks of scientifically fantastical things that this power we so readily have been given."

He nodded towards the kitchen area beyond. "Were you coming or going? I could escort you either way. We can chat, you can tell me a bit about what you need and I'll regale you with fanciful tales of magic and intrigue and we can come to some sort of arrangement." Allan offered his elbow, the black outfit of the Dominion would stand stark against the white coat the woman.
Her heart sank quickly, but all it did was push her lips into a contemplative twist. She wouldn’t give up asking, even if it meant submitting a new request daily. She had no idea how the Nine were deployed, and their work was probably far more important than tinkering with her in the lab. Yet here one just appeared like a mushrooms in the grass after a hard rain. And omg that smile was the kind that made her want to tuck her hair behind an ear and look away.

“Um, well going, actually. My lunch is in sporogenesis.” She chuckled then added an explanation. “Sorry. Fungus joke.” She looked at the sprung out wing of his elbow confused for a second before realizing that it was for her. “Oh, thanks.” She started to slip her arm through, feeling like she had at the ball. Only to realize that she couldn’t take the lab coat out of the actual lab. “Sorry again, just give me a second.” And she hurriedly shrugged it off, only to toss it across the back of a chair. She had like four more stuffed somewhere.

She hurried back and resumed the previous position.

“Um, my name is Danika. Zayed. Pleasure to meet you finally.” And she gave a little mock salute with her free hand. “You sure its okay? I don’t want to lure you into something that will get you in trouble.” Her smile was wide and toothy. She wasn’t wearing lipstick or much at all in the way of makeup, but she was actually sincere behind the smile.
Allan smiled to reassure the good doctor. "I'm sure. I won't get in trouble. It's my time, as long as I get my job done no one cares what else we do." Allan didn't mention that he was friendly with the Ascendancy and he'd make the request official and he'd not have to worry about it -- nor would she. No point however in showing off or dropping names.

"I know this great little Greek place around the corner. The spanakopita is the best I've had." Allan couldn't say he was the best food critic, he'd eat just about anything, but he liked the place well enough and it was quiet this time of the day -- post lunch pre dinner was always the best time.

Allan lead her around the corner chatting about nothing of importance but insuring the woman was well engaged and energetically talking. Her work seemed to be a big thing, he asked questions and prompted small talk on the subject until they were seated and ordered their drinks. "Now that we aren't walking through town, can you tell me more of your project you need help with?"
After the prison, Marcus made sure he carved out time for himself. Not a vacation, of course. But he did take a week to visit the training camp Vellas was running. Marcus knew the man was the military side of the Force. There was no love lost between the two. An understatement. Only a forced respect for position and power. But where Vellas seemed content (seemed, he reminded himself. Obfuscation and duplicity were the norm in government) to lead the military wing of the Force, his own ambition reached for far more. 

Vellas would be someone to eliminate one day. He calculated his odds of subborning the man to his loyalty as to be so close to infinitesimal as to make no difference. He would have to go.

Not, of course, today. No, this would be in the future. But the seeds needed to be nurtured, the roots put down, the tendrils cultivated to grow beneath the barrier between his Consulate and Vellas organization, binding them tightly and organically.

To that end, Marcus had directed that his research division pursue military applications of the Force. Most channelers had discovered its more violent applications. Unsurprising, given humanity. And while the majority were rudimentary in their brute force applications- blunt weapons of air or water or earth- there were a handful who had chanced upon more novel applications. Force ability seemed to be distributed across all demographics, with perhaps only a small indication of density clusters around some specific ethnic backgrounds- an area he was already having people look at. 

With such a large sample pool, the rather unique Force techniques that stood out were incredibly dissimilar. From nervous system manipulation to what appeared to be some sort of chemistry- really, it bore more resemblance to alchemy- that produced directed "gases" that turned the mind to mush to an incredibly amazing ability to tap into the electrical components of a building to locate and target specific people. 

All of them held promise. It was only natural to lead the research into the scientific principles- things that could be categorized, quantified, tested and repeated- behind these abilities, abstracting away the specifics to arrive at deeper truths. Sharing the fruits of his work with Vellas- and much more importantly, with his functionaries and teachers and the men who were being taught- created ties and perceptions that would become so constant as to seem natural and correct. 

It had been a nice surprise to see Detective Sarkozy there. Domovoi had been subsumed into his department and the man had come up more than once. The greeting, small and superficial as it was, was yet another link, another tie between the two divisions. (Marcus also made a mental note to bring the man into his Consulate for further research. He asked the right questions. )

Marcus and his Consulate would continue to grow as the foremost Channeling organization in the world, the one where all the most cutting edge research and power would derive. When Vellas was finally eliminated (something he looked forward to with some relish), the course to unification would seem the only logical one.

And so his trip was not truly a vacation. But it was a break all the same. He came back refreshed, both from the change in routine and environment. 

The day had started early and he had missed breakfast. Meetings ate up his morning until finally he was able to take a lunch. The options for food were sometimes enough to be paralyzing and it had become a chore to choose0. So instead, using a simple binary search with a mental toss of a coin at each decision point, he came to decide on a specific Greek restaurant in only 6 steps- 64 choices narrowed down to one rather quickly and easily.

His table was his alone- hot cup of tea steaming, his tablet open as he read status reports from his staff. There was so much going on that it took incredible focus to keep track of each avenue being explored. Hierarchy had been imposed as a necessity, a way to manage the new sciences that were being spawned. He tried to keep a close eye on all the projects being studied, but knew he was always only playing catch up. His people knew him and what he wanted and kept him apprised of the most important.

Or rather, what they considered important. Which was really the problem. What they thought he thought important wasn't necessarily what actually was. The danger of missing something- an avenue or ability or Channeler- ate at him. He craved knowledge, hungered to have every thread flow through him. It was what drove him.

And so he read over reports, trying to glean from the sometimes abysmal notes, what they were really doing. After a few minutes, he leaned back, forcing himself to stop. He took a sip of his tea and closed his eyes for a moment in meditation. Calm centered him, icy cold winds of mountains sweeping over his mind, his glacial world of beautiful crystal and lattice and order. Peace filled him.

He opened his eyes and saw two new patrons sitting down at a table some distance away. Danika was sitting with one of the Rods of Dominion. Marcus studied the two for a moment. She was as beautiful as ever. Her bright eyes and wide smile open and inviting. He couldn't help the memory of their night together that came upon him. He pushed away any sense of sentimentality, though. 

Certainly there was no jealousy in him as he studied Allain's face. He'd med the man. And Sanjay had discussed all his fellow Rods at length. A smart man. Driven. He wondered if the meeting was social or business. Just curious, of course. And then he realized that he hadn't looked into Danika's work in a while. Actually, not since their night.

Which was odd, he now realized. Given his hunger, it wasn't like him to avoid research that was incredibly promising. Very odd indeed.

He thought for a moment, then waved over his server and ordered a bottle of wine delivered to their table. When it was delivered, he perhaps consider saying hello.
Once they were seated, Danika browsed the menu for a few minutes in order to make her selection. 

“This is way better than eating out of a to-go container at my desk like usual,” she chuckled at the imagery. The Dominion was a great listener, and she found on their walk that there were no awkward lulls or moments when she wasn’t sure what to say next. So when they finally were settled and able to talk about work, she easily continued the conversation.

“Well, it’s complicated, but i’m studying the particles that make up dark matter. It’s incredibly difficult to do outside the vacuum of space, which I don’t exactly have access to,” she smiled at her own joke. “Instead, I reproduce the conditions to study these particles, and I am studying my hypothesis about how they interact with each other and with ‘other things’ too.” Her voice lowered a little at the end, glancing around. They weren’t alone in Kremlin personnel. The restaurant wasn’t exactly busy, but it wasn’t empty either, and there were strict rules about what Danika could and couldn’t say about her work. However, she assumed that a Dominion had all the clearance necessary, which meant she had to be a little guarded since they were in public.

What she meant about ‘other things’, she conveyed by the pointed way she studied the chain on his uniform and the patch on his arm. That thing was the power, and so far, she had yet to use a man’s power in her experiments.

It was then that the server approached, settling her drink orders before them. Danika straightened, only to realize that he presented a bottle of wine to Allan. Danika blinked in surprise, and followed his line of sight to the person indicated as the benefactor.

And she saw him, Marcus, sitting some distance away. She had seen very little of him since the ball, or technically, the following morning. And she hoped that it was just coincidence. That he hadn’t somehow heard her talking about her work inappropriately.

She looked back to Allan to see what he would do.
It had been a long time since he crossed paths with the woman he was here to meet. Admittedly, it was a strange time of day to meet for lunch, but Kaelan’s schedule demanded flexibility. The opportunity when his experiments were between steps for incubation or long mixing times meant his life flowed around his work.

In compromise of the strange time, they were meeting in a place near the Kremlin, and apparently, she was a fan of the food.

The host informed him that she hadn’t yet arrived, and showed him to a table along the edge of the wall. There were a few others present, but he ignored them as he passed by. He was dressed in business casual, the shirt was open collar topped with a jacket he kept in the lab for just such appearances, and as such did not stand out.

He ordered a beverage and checked his Wallet while he waited.
[Image: Kaelan-Signature-1.png]
Ishtar Korat Muael                                                                           
A bottle of wine arrived as Danika was telling him all about he work. Highly rude, but when he looked around he noted that the Consul was present and watching. He wasn't an idiot, he'd seen the pair dancing at the ball. He was present and he wondered if this was a means to intimidating him. Allan was not interested, not that the woman wasn't pretty enough or smart enough. She worked for the Ascendancy and anyone in that circle would be off limits for him. Last thing he needed was for the most powerful man on the planet to take exception to who he was with.

Distractions didn't seem something that their good overlord might like. And Danika's work seemed important. Very important. If they were truly to master this power of theirs they needed to understand it and perhaps Danika was the key.

Allan acknowledged the gift with a nod of the head but didn't invite the man over, he had private conversations he wished to have with this young scientist who seemed to flock to men of power. Allan turned his attentions to the server and suggested they serve the wine as intended. "Send our regards and..." Allan sighed. "an invitation? If the lady doth desire his company." He looked to Danika for confirmation. "Perhaps the consul might like to listen to your quandary, while we chat over the most delicious food."

[[ooc: not sure how to include kaelan yet Smile ]]
Danika was quite flustered by the whole situation. The impromptu lunch was one thing, but to discover it was slowly swelling into something of a party left her in a lurch. She wouldn’t mind, but she was worried that she was speaking too freely about government work while in public. Plus there was this awkwardness lingering between them. She’d seen little of Marcus since that night after the ball, and even now, when she glanced across the restaurant, she saw him as she had before, and it filled her with uncharacteristic shyness.

She tried to hide it by smoothing her bangs and a press of her lips into a tight smile. “Of course. Sure. I mean, if you want to.”

She busied herself with smoothing her napkin on her lap and wishing she’d fixed herself up a little better that day.

((No worries about Kaelan. I've got something for him to do.))

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